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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Nat Geo names Mary Shelley its next Genius

Illustration for article titled Nat Geo names Mary Shelley its next Genius
Photo: Heritage Images (Getty Images)

Nat Geo’s TV biopic anthology Genius announced the subject for its upcoming third season today, with Frankenstein author Mary Shelley getting the nod. Shelley will be the first female focus for the series, which previously covered the lives of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso. The show’s producers were reportedly anxious to highlight an exceptional woman this time around, and eventually landed on Shelley, widely regarded as the founder of science fiction and horror literature.


The daughter of early feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley was one of a very small number of 19th century female writers able to support themselves through their work, penning poems, novels, encyclopedia articles, travelogues, short stories, and more. The Genius version of her life will presumably delve deep into the struggles of her personal and creative lives, especially her tumultuous romance with poet Percy Shelley. (Including some tasteful graveyard sex, and the possibly apocryphal bit where she literally kept his heart after his death in 1822.) And, of course, there will presumably be at least an episode on the famous Lake Geneva writing contest, the one that gave birth to her most celebrated masterpiece.

Genius’ portrayal of Shelley’s life won’t be the only one to see the light of day in upcoming months; a more traditional biopic, starring Elle Fanning as Shelley, is set to arrive in theaters on May 25. It’s not clear who’ll play the author and veritable Renaissance woman for the Nat Geo show, meanwhile; Genius tends to go big with these choices, though, tapping Geoffrey Rush and Antonio Banderas to star in its first two seasons, respectively.

[via Deadline]